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Archive for Tuesday, April 17, 1990

NUDITY BAN

April 17, 1990

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Most county residents probably were surprised to learn that nude swimming and sunbathing aren't already illegal at Clinton Lake and other public areas of the county.

That, in itself, is a pretty good argument in favor of the county commission moving ahead with action to ban nudity at the lake, and other places, such as Wells Overlook Park and Douglas County State Lake.

The city has this issue legally covered with an indecent exposure ordinance that prohibits anyone from exposing his or her "private parts" in public places, such as parks, streets or public buildings. The county has no such law. The only laws that apply to nudity or exposure of oneself are those that deal with "lewd and lacivious" behavior. To be arrested under that law a person would have to be displaying some sort of sexual intent or causing some sort of disturbance. Simply disrobing on the beach, wouldn't be grounds for a violation, according to county officials. The only law aimed specifically at nudity in the county, applies only to Lone Star Lake.

People who visit a public beach at Clinton Lake expect to find a family atmosphere. They don't expect and shouldn't be forced to share a beach with people who want to obtain a full-body tan. The county also is under no obligation to provide special "clothing optional" facilities. If such facilities are needed, let private enterprise respond. This certainly isn't an area in which the county or any other governmental unit needs to get involved.

County commissioners have instructed their staff to prepare a resolution to ban nudity at various public places in the county. It's almost surprising such a law is needed, but it appears to be. With summer coming, the county should move ahead as quickly as possible with a resolution that will keep the display of a person's "private parts" a purely private matter, not allowed in public places.

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